This past year has featured a whole lot of Tom Brady in your face from a marketing standpoint, with the Patriots quarterback pushing his lifestyle and health brand, TB12, through a new book, an expensive cookbook and even home delivery meals. It's kind of hard not to buy into whatever Brady is selling, since he's a 40-year-old quarterback playing at an MVP level.

Not everyone is on board, however. In a detailed story about alleged tension among Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft -- which drew the ire of the trio in a public comment -- one of the primary causes outlined by Seth Wickersham of ESPN was Brady's diet and trainer Alex Guerrero, who was banned from the Patriots' sidelines by Belichick earlier this year.

According to Wickersham's reporting, one of Brady's friends believe the quarterback has "changed" since engaging in the diet. And other players on the Patriots, many of whom were treated by Guerrero, believed it felt "like a cult."

From the story:

They did have a problem with what Brady and Guerrero promised the TB12 Method could do. They claimed it could absolve football of responsibility for injury: "When athletes get injured, they shouldn't blame their sport," Brady wrote. The method also was so consuming and unwavering in its rules and convictions that, while it helped some players, it felt "like a cult" to others, one Patriots staffer says. The way TB12 began to creep into Brady's life worried people close to the QB, many of whom were suspicious of Guerrero. "Tom changed," says a friend of Brady's. "That's where a lot of these problems started."

Go ask a random, average person on the street what they think about Brady's pliability stuff and eating avocado ice cream and you might not get a very different answer. The c-word would get thrown around by one or two of the people you asked, because it is weird how aggressively Brady is pursuing these diet choices. It was recently skewered by a FiveThirtyEight article titled "Tom Brady Is Drowing in His Own Pseudoscience."

Guerrero has been involved in some controversies in his past. And when you read Wickersham's article, you get the sense that the trainer's presence in and around the Patriots facilities created some issues. 

When Julian Edelman tore his ACL during the preseason, the Patriots were looking for options to replace his production. Wickersham writes that "there was 'hypersensitivity' among players, in the words of a Patriots coach, over who would take his place." As a result, many of the younger players felt, according to the report, that it would behoove them to visit the TB12 clinic run by Guerrero inside of the Gillette Stadium complex.

"Players have always decided to come or not come on their own," Guerrero said, via Wickersham.

According to the ESPN report, Pats players "openly discussed" whether they should visit Brady's guy or stick with the team's trainers, which left them at odds on who to cross: Brady or Belichick. 

It's this kind of conundrum, along with the whole Jimmy Garoppolo trade situation and how it unfolded, that create a stage for incredible tension. The Patriots clapped back in impressive style, but the reality is it's a believable report, and the story probably will not go away, not as long as Belichick is coaching and Brady is playing and sporting that crazy diet of his. 

On the other hand, winning a sixth Super Bowl would go a long way towards quieting people pretty quickly.